Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Hidden Huntress (Malediction Trilogy #2) by Danielle L. Jensen
Published June 2nd, 2015 by Angry Robot.

Links: Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: Publisher via Netgalley. Thank you Angry Robot for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: YA fantasy.

My rating:

Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible. 

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation. 

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high. 

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

srcek

This is the review for a second book in the series so it probably contains spoilers for Stolen Songbird.

I wanted to like Hidden Huntress so much… I read Stolen Songbird but never reviewed it – and I thought it was a very decent beginning of a YA fantasy series, I liked Cécile and Tristan (especially because they were both reluctant to fall in love, it’s a nice twist on the kidnapper-turned-lover trope) and was eager to find out what would happen, though I was a bit sad they were separated right at the end of the book. So for a series that focuses so strongly on romance – and it does, though the main theme’s really this struggle to find humanity in both human and troll race and all – Tristan and Cécile spent a terribly small amount of time together in this book.

I’m sad to say the plot of Hidden Huntress seems to suffer from the second book syndrome, meaning that it drags a bit and nothing really exciting happens until the end – which is, admittedly, full of surprises. Cécile is forced to obey the rules set out by her unfeeling mother, all the while trying to fulfill the promise she made to Tristan’s father, the king of Trollus. Trying to kill the witch Anushka is eating up her thoughts and consuming her, which makes sense but it changed her in ways I didn’t particularly like. I also missed Tristan – he does have his own chapters but he was somehow pushed into second place.

But it was the setting that kept nagging me and I experienced, for the first time in a long while, the feeling of being “thrown out” of a book – which is pretty bad when you’re reading secondary-world fantasy, no? While most of the happenings in Stolen Songbird take place in the country and then in Trollus, a kingdom under the Mountain, Cécile’s part of Hidden Huntress, at least, is set in Trianon, the capital of this island country. And Trianon is remarkably similar to Paris, at least for me, there’s the opera house and the dancers, the seedy Pigalle quarter where the witch called “La Voisin” lives (OK this may have been an ARC problem but the French word for a female “neighbor” is “la voisine”). Anyway, it’s like Paris but not Paris and while I’m all for fantasy cities inspired by real-life places (hello, Camorr!), this one didn’t convince me at all.

Sigh. You see, I’m a mood reader. And this book failed to catch my interest, so I dragged it out and read about four other books in between, which is probably unfair, but then if it was interesting enough, I wouldn’t have had this problem… It’s a vicious circle. I’m probably going to read Warrior Witch so I can finish the series – and I really would like to know how some of the things that happened towards the end of Hidden Huntress play out. I just hope the series ends with a bang, instead of slowly sizzling out.

srcek

Have you read Stolen Songbird or Hidden Huntress? What did you think?

Do you also dislike second books in trilogies? (For me, they’re the worst.)

I’d love to hear from you! :)

 

  • We are of one mind when it comes to this series, Kaja. I read and really liked Stolen Songbird, but I have yet to review it – I will probably do a joint review for SS and HH. I was completely underwhelmed by HH, especially the big reveal at the end about the witch’s identity. Am I the only person who saw that coming at the end of the first book?! Kind of a let-down. And then there was the whole Tristan/Cecile dynamic….sigh. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but it bothered me SO MUCH when Tristan’s POV revealed that he hadn’t been 100% truthful with Cecile about his relationship with Anais. Why bother claiming something romantic never happened if we know that isn’t the case?! I am also frustrated about the whole trolls vs. the actual paranormal/supernatural creature type that they are. The last 100 pages dragged on forever and contributed to the fact that it took me FIVE WEEKS to finish this one. Yikes.

    I still love Marc, though. He is precious and too good for everyone in this world. I just want him to catch a break and find some peace.

    • “we are of one mind when it comes to this series” –> we often are, aren’t we? :)

      Gah yes to the “BIG SURPRISE”. Also, what’s with that other cliffhanger, the fae part? Shifting the focus away from the main problems (humans vs trolls) to have a common enemy?

      I felt like Cecile didn’t DO anything, she was forever being dragged around by her mother and the troll king and just SINGING like she’s half-witted (ok so I sometimes hum to myself but still). But this is also a problem I usually have with musicals and Disney cartoons so I might be biased (“What’s that? A difficult life situation? Let’s all spontaneously burst into a previously unrehearsed song!” Eh.)

      Oh, Marc. Yeah. I like him, too, especially that he didn’t seem to readily forgive Tristan for what he did to him but I’ve been following Jensen on Twitter and she’s been posting teasers as she writes book 3 – and they’re actually SPOILERS which irritates me (I’m considering unfollowing her, ugh) so I saw something about Marc that made me sigh and roll my eyes. Want to know? I can send you a DM. If not, we’ll talk about it when book 3 comes along…

      • Yes we are! :)

        Cecile’s singing was a nice element in SS because it kept her from being like other YA heroines who seem to have no hobbies or life outside of the main plot arc. But in HH I just rolled my eyes every time she stepped onstage and saw the huge crowd, etc. etc. Booooring!

        Oooh how annoying! Often times an author’s twitter presence will actually make me like their books more but I wouldn’t want spoilers unless I sought them out. Yes, I am awful and sometimes I seek out spoilers if I’m not loving how a series is progressing! The shame! Please DM me these terrible things. I will side-eye them and shake my head. If the spoiler is that Marc falls for Cecile I will barf.

  • This is a favorite series of mine, but I agree that though I still enjoyed it, I missed the world of Trollus. I actually felt like I got to know Tristan better even though he had probably less page time. Not sure why, I just connected well with him more so than Cecile. Still, I’m excited to see the remainder.
    Thanks for the lovely review, Kaja :)

    • I think we got to see a different part of Tristan’s mind – we saw some of his history, the decisions he’s had to make, how he works under pressure – which was nice.
      I think (from the tweets Jensen’s been writing about her progress on Book 3) that we’re going to see more of Trollus in the last part! :)

  • I was bummed too that Tristan and Cécile didn’t spend as much time together in this book. Although they were together for quite a bit of the second half of the book, so I was happy about that :) The ending to this book got me REALLY excited for Warrior Witch! I’m hoping for some epic scenes :D

    • I thought the second half of the book was better, too, much more happened in a shorter time.
      Yeah, I’m sure the Warrior Witch will be a good ending to the series, the cliffhanger was pretty intense!
      Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie! :)